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Victor Hernández Cruz: 1949—: Poet, Essayist Biography

Poetry Influenced By Early Life, Puns And Island Imagery Filled Works

Victor Hernández Cruz: 1949—: Poet, essayist.

Victor Hernández Cruz is an important modern poet in both of the localities where he has divided his time: Puerto Rico and New York. One of the founders of the Nuyorican (New York-Puerto Rican) cultural movement in the 1960s, he has, in the words of the 2002 Griffin Poetry Prize committee, "long been the defining poet of that complex bridge between the Latino and mainland cultures of the U.S." Cruz writes in an accessible poetic language marked by linguistic mixtures, humor, and powerful imagery of Puerto Rico's tropical lands and New York's urban environment.

Victor Hernández Cruz was born with the assistance of a midwife in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, on February 6, 1949. His family often played and sang the island's traditional music, and he was introduced in an unusual way to the world of literature while still a child in small-town Puerto Rico. His grandfather was a cigar roller who, like others who practiced his trade, often passed the time by telling stories and reciting poetry—Spanish-language classics as well as folktales—while he worked. When Cruz was five, the family moved to New York's Lower East Side.

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